Foster, Bill. Meet the Skeptic: A Field Guide to Faith Conversations. Green Forest: Master Books, 2012. 144 pp. $10.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.
Bill Foster teaches Christian apologetics to believers of all ages. He holds a B.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Graphic Design from Savannah College. He owns a brand image and design firm which gives him a unique perspective of how the popular culture perceives and is influenced by the ideas that shape our world. He believes that understanding the worldviews underlying various objections is essential to reaching the heart of a skeptic’s thinking. You can read more about the book at MeetTheSkeptic.com.
This resource is divided into twelve chapters though the more important divisions are found in the four skeptics Foster discusses. The first four chapters lay the foundation for the entire book — it’s use and how to effectively engage the unbeliever. Chapter four argues for four basic categories of skeptics upon which the rest of the book, two chapters per category, is dedicated. The four categories of skeptics are spiritual, moral, scientific, and biblical.
Each category offers a nutshell one page description followed by a few pages of the “root idea.” In this root idea, you will find common objections to the Christian faith as well as ways in which the believer can counter those objections. Ultimately, Foster moves the reader to “dig up the root idea” of each spiritual problem. Once the root idea has been understood, the reader will be taught how to effectively handle the objections without getting sidetracked by the objections.
The second chapter of each category offers red-flag words in which the believer is taught how to circumvent never ending rabbit trails. Also, the reader is exhorted and cautioned against many other pitfalls to be aware of during the conversation(s).
Perhaps one of the best features of this resource is found on the page opposite the Table of Contents. On this page, they have a list of pop culture references with page numbers where they are discussed in the work. This enables the reader to quickly jump to a specific point and be prepared to readily engage the unbeliever.
There is absolutely much to love about this resource. Bill Foster offers concise and insightful conversation points. His style of writing is perfect for the new believer just as it is perfect for the seasoned believer. This book was written in the trenches of the war so to speak. In other words, Bill Foster is not writing as one who engages in philosophical debates on a college campus. Rather, he writes as one who is involved in these conversations in every day experiences. He has obviously been trained by real to life experiences…similar to the ones you and I have each day. It is that knowledge and experience that makes this book so invaluable to the believer.
While I do believe that the believer ought to study Scripture more than any other world view or apologetic methodology (hey, to better identify counterfeit money, one must study, intimately, the real thing), I found Foster’s work to be refreshing and very real. It is a resource that will go a long way in equipping the readers to better engage the people we work with and see each day. It may even prove to be extremely helpful in dealing with your unbelieving family members. This book is properly subtitled A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.
Apologetics was my first academic love after becoming a Christian. One of the road blocks, humanly speaking, to my coming to faith was the inability of believers to be able to articulate what they believed and why they believed it. I have read and reviewed a number of apologetic works and have enjoyed and learned something new from each. Foster’s book, Meet the Skeptic, has offered something slightly different than the rest of the books in the field of apologetics. While there are other works of apologetics that I would recommend over Meet the Skeptic because of their specific content or intended audience, this is the first work of apologetics that I see as being a must have on every Christian’s shelf. This field guide will prove an invaluable resource to the believer. I highly recommend Meet the Skeptic to all believers without reservation.